We’re going to start off this review by saying we’re big fans of The Wanted. We’ve been supporting the band since before they released All Time Low and we’ve always been impressed with their efforts whether it be live shows, singles or albums. This is why it’s a little hard for us to see them take a bit of a mis-step with their new album Word of Mouth. The fact that the first single from the album came a life-time ago (well 18 months), the album has taken a long-time to get to its release. Finally seeing the light of day on Monday, the album contains 5 singles already which let’s be honest vary in quality.
Since the release of their second album Battleground, which by the way was super pop, The Wanted have experienced international success with Glad You Came giving them a breakthrough in the US. This it would seem is where the issue started as the next singles such as Chasing The Sun and I Found You tried to sound pretty similar to that track, and didn’t come close. Then Walks Like Rihanna happened and actually we didn’t quite know whether to track the seriously or not. One thing we do know is that it’s the worst single from The Wanted to date by quite some distance. We Own The Night followed and found the group back to their catchy best but the single stalled at number 10 on the UK charts. Current single Show Me Love (America) looks as if it may be struggling to do much better with the group continuing to try every sound until one sticks (e.g. The Saturdays entire career strategy to date).
With 5 out of 14 of Word of Mouth’s having already been released the album feels as much like a compilation as does it a new record. Frustratingly the rest of the album finds the group struggling to find their sound. We’re used to The Wanted having edge to their balls out pop but somewhere along the way that’s got lost on Word of Mouth. In The Middle is a bland mid-tempo track that feels too familiar, Running Out of Reasons sounds like a One Direction track, and Summer Alive is a rehash of Glad You Came that simply isn’t as good.
There are some strong moments on the record that hint at what it could have been. The hard electro-beats of Glow in the Dark is a definite highlight and progresses the group’s sound rather than trying to emulate their previous hits. The rocky-edged Demons shows the group still do have edge and Everybody Knows is a rare moment where the group’s vocals are allowed to shine with minimal backing. Even the unusually soppy Heartbreak Story is a pretty decent track with strong vocals from the guys.
Word of Mouth is going to have a tough time in the commercial market we think. We’re not saying The Wanted should follow One Direction’s lead and stick to a formula but this isn’t the edgy pop we’re used to. The album isn’t particularly cohesive and 5 singles prior to an album without a monster hit is a worrying sign. Honestly the pop music on this album is better than the majority of what’s out there but we expect more from The Wanted. Max, Nathan, Tom, Siva and Jay will always have a place in our hearts but we hope that they come back fighting with their next album because Word of Mouth isn’t as strong as their previous albums.